Pass the Practical Driving Assessment

Find out how to prepare for, book and pass your PDA.

The practical driving assessment (PDA) will determine whether you are ready to drive solo on your provisional licence.

During a PDA, the assessor will look at the quality of your driving and how well you:

  • operate and guide the vehicle
  • put the road rules into practice
  • fit in with other traffic
  • see and respond to hazards.

When am I eligible to take a PDA?

You should only take a PDA when you feel confident that you have the skills to drive safely without a supervisor.

Under 25 years old and applying for a car and motorcycle licence

You can take the PDA if you:

  • are 17 years or older
  • have passed the hazard perception test
  • have completed the required 50 hours of supervised driving or riding, including at least 5 hours between sunset and sunrise in your Log Book or Log & learn app.

25 years or older

You can take the PDA if you have passed the hazard perception test.

You do not need to record 50 hours of supervised driving or riding, however we recommend you get as much experience as possible.

Applying for a moped licence

You can take the PDA for a moped licence if you are:

  • are 16 years or older
  • have passed the hazard perception test.

Overseas licence holder

Find out more about practical driving assessment age and experience you need to transfer an overseas licence.

Prepare for your PDA

We recommend you complete more than 50 hours of supervised driving and have plenty of experience driving in:

  • low, medium and heavy traffic, including driving on freeways, highways and country roads
  • in fine weather, in rain and during the day and night.

Do a practice PDA

Before you take the PDA, you should try some exercises that may be tested in the PDA.

You will be ready for the PDA if you can do these exercises without difficulty.

Remember, the PDA checks your ability to:

  • perform set exercises; and
  • drive around streets following directions.

You can find a list of the PDA exercises in the Driving techniques for Safer Drivers: Guide for Learner Drivers booklet (below).

Booking a PDA

You can book a PDA for your first licence up to 6 months in advance.

You can book:

In person bookings cannot be made at metropolitan DVS centres.

Find out more about how to book a PDA securely.

Book a Practical Driving Assessment (online)

On the day of your PDA

On the day of your PDA, you must:

  • Provide your completed Log Book ensuring it has been signed by you and your supervising driver (unless you’re 25 years or older, or taking a moped PDA.)
  • Bring your learner’s permit (preferred) or a form of Category B identification.
  • Provide a licensed roadworthy vehicle to complete the test.
  • Arrive 15 minutes before your PDA booking. If you’re late for your PDA, it will be cancelled and you will need to rebook and pay for another PDA fee.

What to wear

Wear clothes that are comfortable and practical.

If you’re taking a motorcycle or moped PDA, you must wear appropriate clothing, including enclosed footwear, approved helmet, long trousers and long-sleeved shirt or fully-sleeved jacket. Gloves and eye protection are also highly recommended.

Vehicle inspection

Before you begin your PDA, your driving assessor will conduct a brief vehicle suitability inspection to check that your vehicle meets the minimum safety standards.

If the vehicle is found unsuitable, your PDA will be cancelled and you will need to pay for and book another PDA.


Licence restrictions

Automatic vehicles

If you undertake and pass your PDA using a vehicle with an automatic transmission, you will be granted a driver’s licence restricting you driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission only.

Trike motorcycles

If you undertake and pass your motorcycle PDA on a trike motorcycle, you will be granted a licence restricting you to riding a trike motorcycle only.

A trike is defined as a motor vehicle with 3 wheels, but do not include a two wheeled motor vehicle with a sidecar attached to it that is supported by a third wheel.

What happens during the practical driving assessment?

The assessment will take approximately 45 – 50 minutes to complete.

The assessment has 5 sections.

During 3 of the sections, you will be asked to follow directions from the assessor

During the other 2 sections, you will perform set exercises, such as common tasks that drivers and riders often have to do.

PDA assessment items

The PDA assessor will assess you on the following items:

  • Flow: How well you can combine driving skills together. This is how confidently you can combine driving skills without needing to pause and think about what to do.
  • Look behind: Whether you keep track of what is happening behind you using mirrors and checking blind spots.
  • Movement: Whether you move smoothly when you drive the car forwards or backwards, regulate your speed and stop accurately.
  • Path: Whether you pick the best track and stay on track, including where, when and how well you steer.
  • Responsiveness: Whether you are aware of the hazards around you and respond to them appropriately.
  • Signal: Whether you effectively use indicators or signals to let other road users know what you intend to do.
  • Vehicle management: Whether you do things like keep an eye on your vehicle's instruments while you are driving, use the steering wheel correctly and use the clutch and gearbox effectively.

Moped and motorcycle riders

Along with the items listed above, the PDA will determine your general riding ability.

This may include testing your ability to:

  • balance the vehicle at low speeds by riding around a figure 'O' without putting a foot on the ground
  • correctly park and start on a hill
  • perform a quick stop under full control without locking either wheel.

Fail items

You will automatically fail the PDA if you:

  • require your assessor to intervene or give assistance to avoid a potentially dangerous situation
  • disobey a regulatory sign
  • speed
  • disobey any traffic regulation that immediately or potentially threatens safety
  • drive without wearing your seat belt
  • fail to respond to a crisis, or potential crisis, that would normally be anticipated by an experienced driver
  • cause a crisis or potential crisis
  • start the vehicle while not in full control of the vehicle
  • refuse to attempt or are unable to perform any part of an exercise
  • refuse to follow a reasonable direction given by the assessor.


After your PDA

What happens if I pass?

You will be issued with provisional licence.

You can now driver without a supervising driver. Find out more about the rules for driving on a provisional licence.

What happens if I fail?

You will need to book and pay for another PDA. You will need to wait at least 7 days before you can book your next PDA.

Page last updated: Wed Apr 17 2024 3:02:41 PM